ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Assam: BJP’s Consolidation, Congress’s Lost Opportunities

In the recent Lok Sabha elections, Assam’s Hindu vote consolidation shows as the highest in the country. The elections also brought into the limelight the irrelevance of ethnicity-based regional parties and the inability of the opposition to convert the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Bill protests into votes. How and why this happened is examined here.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election in Assam was an interesting event on many counts. Among other things, it put many widely held perceptions to test.

First, it was a test of the claim that the much-debated Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 would harm the electoral prospects of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Recall that the BJP, in coalition with two regional parties—Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodo People’s Front (BPF)—is currently heading the state government. The AGP, born out of the Assam Movement (1979–85), has been opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. If the bill is passed, alleges the AGP, Hindu Bangladeshis will swamp Assam. BPF has oppos­ed the bill as well. But it did not walk out of the coalition—which the AGP did for a brief period. Both the AGP and the BPF represent indigenous communities’ interest, and a coalition with these parties does give the BJP some protection against the anti-bill sentiment. Nonetheless, the intensity of the anti-bill protests, which spread throughout the North East region, indicated that the BJP might suffer electoral damages.

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Updated On : 27th Jun, 2019

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